Homewood Forest Preserve
Homewood Forest Preserve has 65 acres of old growth forest on the north side of Shades Mountain and between Old Montgomery Highway and Homewood High School. Species in the lower section of the preserve include northern red oak, white oak, beech, shag bark hickory, green ash, dogwood and hop horn beam to name a few. In the higher and dryer areas of the preserve, loblolly pine grows along with sugar maple, black cherry and a some long leaf. (To learn more about the Homewood Forest Preserve tree canopy and wildflowers, click here)
The Homewood Forest Preserve has a half mile loop trail in the lower 33 acres of the property and on the eastern side of an Alabama Power Company easement which divides the 33 acres nearly in half. Near the top of the loop trail and at the southwestern part of the trail, a spur trail goes off to the west, crossing the power easement meadow environment and then slips back into the forest. The trail then crosses a small tributary of Shades Creek and climbs to a forested promontory overlook. There is a view of Shades Creek and Samford University from the overlook in the winter. The spur trail can be hiked further to a ball field located above Homewood High School. From there, the hiker can take the road down from the ball field or back-track on the spur trail. (Caution: the spur trail may be overgrown in the summer)
The trail and property of Homewood Forest Preserve can be accessed on the south side of South Lakeshore Drive between Homewood High School and the Homewood Armory. Parking is available in the Homewood High School parking lot, where it is a short walk east to the beginning of the trail. The trail begins just past the power easement and next to a small stream and bridge with a sign that says: Homewood Forest Preserve. Take the trail into the preserve, it will lead to another bridge. Cross this bridge and continue to follow the trail.